3rd Generation Partnership Project 2


Third-generation (3G) wireless technology is of great interest to the telecommunications industry and 15 contributions were submitted by the June 30, 1998, deadline to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU [ http://www.itu.int/ ] ) for proposed radio transmission technologies (RTTs) under the International Mobile Telecommunications 2000 (IMT-2000 [ http://www.itu.int/imt/ ] ) process. Concurrent with the ITU process, TIA has been addressing domestic issues associated with 3G technologies through two major efforts: TIA has become an active proponent of the Third-Generation Partnership Project number 2 (3GPP 2); and TIA also is urging convergence of technology through its 3G ad hoc group under the Wireless Communications Division.

3GPP 2 is an effort spearheaded by the International Committee of the American National Standards Institute's (ANSI [ http://web.ansi.org/default_js.htm ] ) board of directors to establish a 3G Partnership Project (3GPP) for evolved ANSI/TIA/EIA-41, "Cellular Radiotelecommunication Intersystem Operations" networks and related RTTs. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI [ http://www.etsi.fr/ ]) initiated the concept for a 3GPP at the beginning of 1998. ETSI approached TIA and Committee T1 [ http://www.t1.org/ ], sponsored by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS [ http://www.atis.org/ ] ), in March of this year with an initial proposal to join the 3GPP effort.

Members of the ANSI board were concerned that the ETSI proposal was too limiting, and as a result, established a 3G ad hoc committee to examine how all standards development organizations (SDOs) could be involved. In June, a meeting was held between this ANSI ad hoc group and a delegation from ETSI in Seattle to further discuss how the 3GPP could accommodate all industry participants. The original ETSI proposal focused on global system for mobile (GSM) communications technology. After a July 10 follow-up meeting in London, ETSI announced its unwillingness to include other "non-GSM" technologies in its proposal. As a result, the ANSI ad hoc group recommended a similar proposal for the creation of 3GPP 2 and then presented it to TIA's Wireless Communications Division 3G ad hoc group. The 3GPP 2 proposal was presented to a larger audience in August, and the position was refined.

It was decided that ANSI's ad hoc committee needed to present the 3GPP 2 proposal to both TIA's and Committee T1's standards-formulating groups and to other regional SDOs. A presentation and explanation of the 3GPP 2 proposal was made by the ANSI ad hoc delegation to the Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC) and the Association of Radio Industries and Business (ARIB) in Japan and the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) in Korea, September 1-3.

Both Japan and Korea SDOs were receptive to the proposal and announced that they will consider joining the effort. In early September, TR-45, Mobile and Personal Communications Committee, reviewed the presentation and decided to endorse TIA's involvement in the effort. Subsequently, TIA and ANSI met with ETSI on September 25 and presented its proposal for 3GPP 2.

The 3GPP proposal, originally presented by ETSI to Committee T1 and TIA and other national SDOs, encourages the development of a joint technical committee at the international level which would handle pre-ITU and interregional specification work for IMT-2000 RTTs and related network specifications.

ANSI's response to the ETSI proposal was the creation of the 3G partnership as a multilateral collaboration among national and regional SDOs to facilitate the development of globally applicable technical specifications for 3G mobile systems based on the evolution of the two globally deployed mobile architectures: GSM/Mobile Application Part (GSM/MAP) and ANSI/TIA/EIA-41. The work is to be accomplished cooperatively to facilitate the development of timely ITU IMT-2000 recommendations.

This cooperation may result in either complete specifications or in agreed technical elements, which the participating SDOs may submit to the ITU through their normal national or regional processes. This latter form of cooperation builds on the agreements and history of pre-ITU standardization cooperation in the development of network Recommendations on signaling, transmission and maintenance subjects fostered by the Global Standards Collaboration (GSC [ http://www.t1.org/gsc/index.htm ] ) and as has been expanded on in GSC and RAdio STandardizaion (RAST) agreements and resolutions among many of the Participating Standards Organizations now discussing the formation of 3GPs.

Participating SDOs will have the right to submit 3GP technical specifications for approval and publication as standards, or parts of standards within their home national or regional processes. The partnership is a new way of working among the existing organizations. It addresses the industry's need to produce globally applicable specifications without altering the national or regional scope of existing standards organizations.

The proposed 3G partnership is structured into two projects:

  1. 3GPP 1: Global specifications for GSM/MAP network evolution to 3G and the UTRA RTT.
  2. 3GPP 2: Global specifications for ANSI/TIA/EIA-41 network evolution to 3G and global specifications for the RTTs supported by ANSI/TIA/EIA-41.

Additionally, it is recognized that related work spanning the two families is being undertaken outside of the partnership projects:

ANSI initially proposed the establishment of one 3GPP as an overall umbrella activity, but the ANSI 3G ad hoc recognized that ETSI has led global discussions for work focused on item 1 above. TIA in the United States is the home organization for ANSI/TIA/EIA-41, and TIA has already moved to open global discussions focused on item 2. Even if not done under a single organizational structure, these two efforts have agreed to cooperate in the development and support of the technical objectives in the above bulleted items and have similar operating procedures so future convergence of work activities is facilitated.

The ANSI group believes the definition of 3GP rules and procedures, whether through one organizational structure or two independent but interconnected activities among many of the same participants, should be developed with agreement of all participating SDOs. These rules and procedures should address the development of specifications and of other candidate input to the ITU for the four work areas defined above. In a separate document, the ANSI 3G ad hoc group provided its suggested additions and modifications to the procedural framework suggested by ETSI. This procedural framework includes clarification of voting procedures, information-sharing rules, common criteria for evaluation of resultant specifications, intellectual property rights, etc.

3G Ad Hoc Group

The TIA WCD 3G ad hoc group has met frequently since the board of directors approved it to continue to facilitate harmonization of technologies in the United States. The 3G ad hoc group has three task groups: TG 1, Harmonization; TG 2, Government Partnership; and TG 3, Spectrum Issues. TG 1 continues to identify potential areas of harmonization for 3G by examining the output documents of the standards-formulating groups. TG 2 had a successful first meeting in which representatives from seven government agencies attended and agreed to bring their questions about 3G to the group. TG 3 is developing a position on how the Federal Communications Commission (FCC [ http://www.fcc.gov/ ] ) could provide additional spectrum for IMT-2000. Additionally, TG 3 will provide input to the FCC on how new spectrum could be allocated in the future for 3G use.

For more information, contact Dan Bart at (703) 907-7703 or dbart@tia.eia.org.

Copyright 1999